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Classroom Management in Preschool Series -Day 5

classroom management social emotional social emotional learning teacher tips

Well, the end has come. It's Day 5, the final day, of the Classroom Management in Preschool Series! Thanks for sticking with me!

If you missed Day 1 of the Classroom Management in Preschool Series, catch it at the link!  On Day 1 we discussed why behavior charts don't work and why rewards don't work either. We did some mindset work around students behaviors and learned that what to do instead of chart and rewards came down to 4 major categories: 

  1.  Becoming a Behavior Detective
  2.  Setting Up Students For Success
  3.  Teaching Skills
  4. Building Relationships

Missed Day 2?  It was all about Setting Students up for SUCCESS - even before the school year starts!

Day 3 a miss too? Well, it was all about relationships!

How about Day 4.. you don't want to miss it- it's all about teaching missing skills!

Well... It's Day 5 and we talkin' all about what to when if all else fails... because it will. 

Here is the Truth... Even when we do ALL the prepping and teaching- sometimes it's not enough.  Harsh?  Yes. -  True? Also, yes.

It's Time to Get Individualized

When we have a child in our care that is struggling with behavior and everything we've done up until now isn't enough - it's time to become a detective (channel that inner Monk, ya'll).

Since all behavior is a form of communication - what is the student's behavior telling us?

- - - chances are they aren't just going to come out and say it - - -

How to find out what student behaviors are telling us...

1. Take note of when the student is having the behavior problem. If there is more than one- focus on one at a time.

2. OBSERVE. Watch the student closely during that time frame for triggers.

3. Have open dialogue with the child's family. Changes in home life can make a big impact on behavior.

4. Talk with the child and see if he/she is able to communicate the feelings behind the behavior. Maybe, just maybe, they can give you some clues.

Considerations to make.... (aka: detective questions to ask yourself)

> Is the behavior a pattern?

> Has there been a change in schedule at home or school?

> Is the bottom layer of Maslow's Hierarchy to blame (hunger, sleep, sickness)?

> Does the behavior occur at the same time each day?

> Does the behavior occur when interacting with others or alone?

> Are the expectations for the child's age group off?

> Does the child's family see the same behaviors at home?

> Does the behavior occur with the same people?

REMEMBER- keep assumptions at bay. Look at what is being observed and find out what is MISSING.

Looking for missing skills...

Let's look at a scenerio:

If a student has hit another child, which scenario will help the child from repeating the behavior in the future?

A. putting the child in time-out and continuing to put the child in time-out every time they hit another.

B. Removing the child from the situation to keep the other child safe and also talking to the hitter about not hitting.

C. Letter B + Taking note of the behavior, when it happened, who it involved and what the circumstances were. Look for missing skills and teach the child those skills.

Answer: C

Why not A, well the behavior modification becomes reliant on you. Will the behavior stop if you aren't there to intervene? Or, will the child learn to become sneaky and do it while you aren't watching? Problem not solved.

Why not B, well... B is fine. We have to keep the other students in our care safe and sometimes that means removal of a child that isn't being safe. Also, talking with a child about what happened and what to do next time is also fine.  But, we still haven't gotten to the root of the problem.

Why it's C. Well, C is answer B + putting in some detective work. Making observations (possibly logging them on paper) and doing some trial and error to get to the root cause. It may not (and probably will not) happen in that one situation of hitting. But, your detective work should start there.

Are you thinking... that sounds like a lot more work....

Well, it is. You'd be right.


- You are helping your student learn a missing social skill that can serve them the rest of their life.

- When missing skills are taught, you are helping the student to independently solve the problem in the future (ie- less of you having to intervene).

- You will see the behavior improve because you've found the root cause and addressed it.

But, as you can imagine- there is no one-size fits all solution for every child (cough... this is why behavior programs don't work... cough).


Teaching in the Moment

It's the best time to teach young children missing skills.

Skills I find myself teaching a lot...

> how to handle frustration

> how to handle anger appropriately

> how to handle a peer that is doing something you don't like

> how to get help from an adult in an appropriate way

> how to communicate wants appropriately

> how to handle the answer 'no'

> how to take turns

Feeling like a broken record...

They aren't going to get it the first time you teach it.

Just like how they don't learn letters or numbers the first time you teach them.

Channel your inner Dory and 'Just Keep Teaching!'

Because when they get it.... your teacher heart just might explode with happiness.

A few tid-bits....

Some days are just hard. Don't get down on yourself or your kiddos - just wake up the next day and do the best you can.

Start each day new - there is no need for lingering negativity or punishments for either you or your students.

Use traditional behavior management strategies sparingly (but know a good mama bear glare is needed every now and again).

Know when to ask for help...

Asking for a breather from a screaming child, another pair of eyes to observe behaviors or an ear to hear you vent is OKAY.

Teaching little people is hard.

Don't do it alone.

It is MORE than okay to ask for help.

Give yourself grace & give your children grace.

We all are a work in progress.

Thanks for joining me on this Classroom Management journey!

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